Time patrol Angkor cont…d

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Previously on Time Patrol: the fearless crew and passengers of TSS Equinoxio follow the 1866 Cambodia expedition of Doudart de Lagrée, jumping to and fro in hyperspace to the 1930’s and early 21st century. Above: the central alley to Angkor Vat, 1930. in La France lointaine:

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“Jump to 2018, Scotty, please.”

“Roger that.”

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2018. Angkor Vat. Jump!

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1866. Doudart de Lagrée expedition. Angkor Vat, photograph by Gsell. Think tripod. Heavy wooden camera. Long exposure time. Probably glass plates. To be later wrapped with care and carried by buffalo-drawn carriages.

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2018. Jump.

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2018. I fell down the stairs in one of the last temples. Missed my footing. When I realized I could not stop the fall, old reflexes kicked in: horse riding and judo. Instead of fighting the fall, I “embraced” it. Rolled down. Quite spectacular, but nothing broken. Just scrapes and bruises. 🙂 Washed arms and legs with bottled water, and asked the Tuk-tuk driver to take us to a “pharmacy” to buy antiseptic and bandages. He took us wayyyy inside the countryside, where no tourists ever wander. We caught this lone buffalo on the side of the road. They once were everywhere, helping in the fields.

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1896. Photo by Salles. (In L’Indochine, published by Herscher) Buffalo in a rice field. Jump!

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1870. In Le magasin pittoresque. Engraving by Lancelot, based on a photo, likely by Gsell.

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2018. Lion on a royal terrace. Angkor Thom. Lions are a recurring theme in Asian symbolism. Most lion statues in Angkor are worn out, eaten out by age, rain or pilfering. Below the lion stands Garuda, the Bird God and King of birds. Garuda is the vahana (mount) of Vishnu. Again, the influence oh Hinduism. Blended in fusion with Buddhism.

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19th century. A divine Apsara dancing in the ruins. Jump!

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2018. The Khmer equivalent of the Greeks’ three graces. Note the feet turned sideways, while the dancers are facing us. Not unlike the Egyptian paintings of the Pharaohs.

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1930. Child fisher”men”, near Angkor Vat. The baskets they hold are called “nasses” in French, fish traps. We had one of those for many years. Turned upside down, set on a metal base with a round glass on top. A perfect side table. Jump!

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2018. Sras srang, the royal pond, Angkor Thom is behind us.

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1905. Atlas colonial.

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1930. The elephant terrace at Angkor Thom. Bas-relief after bas-relief, statues after statues of elephants. “Scotty, try to put us in the exact same spot please.”

“Will do our best, Captain. Jump!”

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2018. A few yards’ difference.

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1930. Angkor Thom. The Bayon. The many faces of Brahma.

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I may (probably) go back. Just to spend an entire day in silence in the Bayon, and contemplate the face of Buddha. Or is it Brahma? Or is it the same? On top of every tower is a lotus flower.

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1930. Angkor Thom. Statue of the Leper King. Watch carefully every statue. The headless one on the left, the Buddha-like statue in the centre, and the monkey (Hanuman?) on the right. Juuuuuump!

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2018. There are incense sticks on the first statue. The statue in the back has been wrapped in a yellow gold cloth. A shrine set up with many more incense sticks. I thought many times during this trip to light up a few sticks and wave them above my head as I saw the people do… I didn’t.

The Leper King terrace was built by King Jawayarman VII. The (first) statue is that of Yama, the God of death. The (second) statue was called the Leper King because of moss and decoloration, reminiscent of leprosy, and of an ancient leper King, called Yasovarman I (9th-10th century AD). The name Cambodians now use is Dharmaraja. King of Dharma. Dharma meaning “the right way of living” or the “cosmic law and order”. Among many others. Take your pick.

May Dharma be with you. 🙂




53 thoughts on “Time patrol Angkor cont…d

      • I am not a traveller, Brieuc. There are plenty of places which I’d like to visit, Patagonia to start with. But I do not like flying for hours. So, I have to rely on other’s trips … and this is OK !
        A great day to you.

      • And you put things up in space? 🙂 Well I can understand feeling trapped in an airplane must be nightmare for some. I was trained early: my first flight was in a DC4, when I was 6 months… Bonne soirée Gilles.

    • Absolutely. Tout-à-fait d’accord. What I find endearing is the stability of things, or even customs in an ever-changing world. Angkor has remained since the 900’s. A fallen stone here. A broken statue there. But the essence is the same. 🙂

  1. I have a computer video game that used temples and ruins such as these for the settings. It was wonderful to see how the artists conceptions of these were. To see the real ones through your photos is grand. Hugs


  2. Brian, more fantastic history and photos, delightful. I’m captivated by they Bayon, bigger that life. The faces are something, it seems like you would feel minuscule in their presence. Enjoy your evening and the rest of the week. ~ Mia 🙂

  3. My favorite post in a while! Love these photos. It makes me want to go and visit. I love the stone carvings. The architecture is so interesting. And the old versus new photos are so interesting. So much has changed yet so much remains the same.

  4. What a civilisation! Words are powerless…

    Incidentally, my favorite game series has always been “Tomb Raider”, especially the first three or four. Haven’t touched them in a very long time, last time – ten years ago or more – I had a catastrophic hard drive failure and lost all my progress in two of the games.

    Lancelot’s engravings are wonderful, extremely detailed. But reality is overwhelming even after so many centuries. What will remain after our current civilisation dissapears? Tapes, hard drives, CD/DVDs, phones, tablets and so on will definitely be worthless in a short while, because they aren’t meant to last in the first place. We are so fragile, yet we’ll neither admit nor correct that. And we’ll be gone with the wind, forever…

    • One rock group has written one single, most powerful song: kansas. (Dust in the wind) 🙂
      And you are right: the digital systems will erase, more so when no instrument can read them. A paper book can last centuries. Stone sculptures can last thousands of years.

    • Angkor is… out of this world. As I told another friend, I may go back without a camera just to walk around. Sit. Look at the many faces of Brahma/Buddha and listen to te wind. 🙂
      (If you haven’t been to Angkor, you need to go some day)

      • Haven’t been to Angkor. No excuses for me since I live in Asia. Better when the little one is bigger, I can bring her along too so she can learn about the history of the place.

      • It is always the same thing: one says: it’s close. I will go next time. 🙂 Now it is a heavy trip to do with children. Lots of walking, climbing, and very hot.

      • Really?? I actually remembered a lot of details of my Malacca trip when I was 5 years old. But then I suppose you are right that many kids won’t remember.

      • I haven’t read it yet. Thank you for the link! I tend to remember the most useless stuff even as an adult but can be the most useful when one uses it as debates. Lol.

      • You (and I) probably have a “special” memory. I tend to remember everything I see. (Or hear, even). Not total recall, but close. Useful indeed.

  5. Very interesting post. To see the history and switch back to present day, is amazing. What struck me morst was the artistry and craftsmanship in the design of these temples. Really worth examining further.

      • That would certainly be nice. I find it is easy to miss the bigger impression if you are a little too focused on photography and what makes a good photo. Just to look and absorb with our eyes and not the lens is a very good thing to do.

      • Absolutely. As a matter of fact I stopped photography for around 15 years (let others do it) precisely because it took away my personal memories. Now I’ve gone back to it, with a difference: no fancy, bulky camera, lenses, etc. Just an iPhone in my back pocket. See something interesting? take the phone out. Snap and back into the pocket. 🙂
        Have a nice week-end.

    • Thank you mon amie. Just a few scrapes. It does come from Judo. (A very fast memory search as I was falling down the stairs) 🙂
      very “Asian” in a way: don’t fight, go with the flow. And “Embrace the fall” could be applied to many things right? 🙂
      I have your last post “on hold” to read again with peace and quiet. Barely skimmed it on my phone and it is worth the adequate time and concentration. 🙂
      Are how you doing so far?

  6. Pingback: In search of the lost Buddha | Equinoxio

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